Washington State Paid Sick Leave Effective Date Nears

A year ago today, Washington State voters approved Initiative 1433, which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees beginning on January 1, 2018. My posts about that Initiative are here and here. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has been preparing rules and documents to assist employers with compliance and to notify employees of their rights under the Initiative.wa-seal

After a notice and comment period and public hearings, on October 17, the Department adopted paid sick leave and retaliation rules. The Department is working on a second set of rules relating to enforcement of the paid sick leave and retaliation provisions. Public hearings on the proposed rules are being held today and tomorrow. Comments must be submitted by November 17. The rules are scheduled to be finalized by mid-December.

Initiative 1433 requires that employers have written policies to address specific issues such as employee notice and verification requirements, front-loading and a shared leave program. The Department recently posted “initial drafts” of policies on each of these issues. The Department seeks comments on these policies by the close of business tomorrow, November 9. The draft policies are:

In planning your workload to comply with Initiative 1433, note that in its Preliminary Cost Benefit Analysis, the Department estimates that it should take between 6.25 and 17 hours for an employer to research the law and policy options, draft and communicate the policy to employees, and train employees on the policy. If the employer does not adopt a front-loading or shared leave policy, it would take a few hours less. To update a current PSL policy to address these issues should take between 2 and 5 hours, according to that Analysis.

Kudos and a PSL hat-tip to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for its efforts to keep stakeholders informed through its dedicated Initiative 1433 website and regular email updates.